Letter to my Son
Sunday, 16 June
I hope that you and I will one day again be able to take walks together. Much of the energy I place into my projects is with this goal in mind. I use the hands given me to do with as best I can. There is a reason for everything we do. We don’t have to know what that reason is for this to be so. A coyote bays at the moon without considering why. What need is there for him to know? He may not even realize he’s a coyote. It doesn't matter. He is as life prescribes.
Once again I draw pictures. It’s one of those ventures where I don’t know what it is I am looking for except that I will know it when I see it. That seems to be the rule of this game. Do you find your instincts can appear counter-intuitive to what it is you are trying to do? We can attempt the seemingly obvious yet find it as maddeningly elusive as writing our name while viewing the results in a mirror. Doing what we think we ought to be doing only sends us in the opposite direction of where it is we want to be. I find myself in life time and again stubbornly insisting on making the wrong approach. What simple trick of the mind have I overlooked?
It would be an easy conclusion to make that I have so far failed in what it is I have tried to do. Failure here is a term incorrectly applied. It is too definitive and simple an answer to be useful. Trying to visualize the peeled-back layers of one’s own human mind is not like a round of horseshoes. I can be far from my mark and still find the results interesting. In some things it is better to make the most from an inadvertent gesture. A God-awful choice has its own revelation. The hunch I want myself to believe in is that the path to personal success is by way of making a series of right disastrous choices. I’m stuck with myself. Ugly ducklings don’t always turn into swans. I’m sixty-four and my use of color and form still reminds me of goulash found in an alley behind the restaurant. It seems evident by now that I wasn’t put on Earth to make roast duck. I’m here to convince you that corn and green beans in tomato sauce is ravishing.
The challenges we choose for ourselves go a long way towards defining who it is we truly are. The clothes we wear are largely influenced by the fashion of the time. Our pick in career may be a muddled mix of motivations that includes mundane matters of money and opportunity. Certainly our choice of a spouse suggests something significant about us, though, I suspect biology and timing play a bigger role than we would like to think. No, if you want to know who it is we really are then look at the rock we volunteer to endlessly roll uphill. I once knew a man many years ago that had a rare genetic defect. Each finger of his hands was one knuckle short. Despite his resulting limited agility and lack of reach his burning desire was to play the piano well. He did. The result was not a repertoire of familiar show tunes. His style suggested the rapid course that water takes down a steep mountain stream. His was an approach to the keyboard you would hear nowhere else. It was music of a strange sort, but it was music.
There is always something odd to be found in the character we each display. We may try to hide it from view because our particular quirk appears so ridiculous, so indefensible to our own mind. Sure, someone that doesn't know us well may have a good laugh at our expense but they haven’t had the time to sample the savory blend of seasonings that make up our seven course personality. And yes, not everyone is going to take to us, no matter what. We don’t all appreciate almond slivers in rice… or whatever it is that makes your particular psychological concoction uniquely you.
I make pictures, though I never figured out how to draw. I love drawing though learning about it never interested me. I just put my shoulder into the rock, hope for the best, and start trudging uphill.